Saturday, May 12, 2007

How do I Generate More Leads from my Website?

Many B2B marketers ask these questions daily: We have this great website, we use email, we use search - what else can we do? How can we further optimize our practices to increase the amount of leads we generate?

A recent study by MarketingSherpa and KnowledgeStorm provides some additional insights that marketers should be aware of. They surveyed both vendors and users (people who actually fill out registration forms) to better understand what and why they fill out forms on websites. Here is a summary of the key points:

  • While both marketers and users agree that registering for white papers, analyst reports and demos is acceptable, 45% of users are OK with registering to download product information. This item didn't even crack the top 5 for vendors! What does this mean? It means that you should experiment with putting this information into a PDF and placing a form in front of it. Think about it, a prospective buyer is evaluating your product and wants to read more about you. Most likely, they'll fill out a form (if it's simple) to get a PDF on your product.

  • 72% of users said that a detailed summary of the white paper will encourage registration. What does this mean? Don't just put the title of the webinar on your landing page with a "Download now!" link beside it. Web visitors want a sneak peak at the white paper to ensure that it's worth their time to go through the registration process. You can read about best practices on this area from my post: Improve how you use White Papers for Lead Generation - Part II

  • While most people provide their real name and email address, most don't provide their real phone number or answer custom questions accurately. This means that many registrants really don't want to be called and don't really care to answer such questions as "When do you plan to buy a product like ours?". Besides name and email, choose your registrations carefully! In addition, don't discount leads based on the lead qualification questions you've asked on a web form. Many just choose the default answers so they can get through the process and download the webinar or webcast that they want.

  • 56% of users use business email addresses but 46% use non-business email
    addresses. Just because someone has signed up using a hotmail or yahoo address doesn't mean they should be treated any differently then someone from IBM or Goldman Sachs.

What does this mean for marketers and online lead generation?

  • Try creating product summaries that require registration
  • Ask for basic information only - the more you ask, the less accurate it will most likely be
  • If you want people to register for something, ensure that you provide a good amount of detail on the landing page that will encourage registrations
  • Since the lead qualification data that is provided may not be accurate, build processes that measure activity (email opens, form submissions, web activity) to gauge the interest of a particular prospect and assist in lead qualification. In addition, you may need to use data from third party sources (such as D&B) to verify how qualified a company is rather then relying on what the web visitor provided.
I hope these tips serve you well and good luck in your lead generation campaigns!

Chad H.

PS - please let me know if you have any examples that you would like to share.

4 comments:

Hans De Keulenaer said...

The question is what you're gone to do with the leads generated. Privacy laws in many countries require that users give explicit permission to contact them in any manner.

Some sites go through quite extensive registration processes to capture user information. If your prime purpose is capturing user information, this can work well. But if it is marketing communications, user registration is a too formidable barrier to market.

Chad H said...

Compeletly agree Hans!

Khalid Hajsaleh said...

Excellent post. I might be pessimistic but I think the number of people opting to download white papers will drop as more companies move to providing white papers. The main reason for that is the quality of white papers provided is not always up to the level of expectations. It seems that many think that putting 5 pages of mundane and old content constitute a white paper. Do you agree with that?

Chad H said...

Khalid - it all depends on content. If the content is good, people will register. I think that a. people are used to registering b. Sophisticated companies make this easier by pre-populating your info if you are a return user. I recommend adding a good paragraph or two of the white paper that acts as the catch to entice people to register for thew white paper. Thanks again for your comment.

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